A Taste of St Andrews: Gin, Golf & Gastronomic Delights

If you’re planning a trip to Scotland, make sure to get out to the Highlands  or coast as well as to cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow. The unspoiled landscapes really are spectacular and well worth a visit. We recently got a taste of St Andrews on a road trip from Edinburgh to Fife, a stunning region with a rich cultural and foodie heritage. Heading out of Edinburgh, we soon arrived at the three Forth Bridges. There’s the original Forth Bridge, opened in 1890, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Forth Road Bridge that we drove across, and Queensferry Crossing which is under construction and due to open imminently.

Queensferry Crossing, FifeAfter about an hour we arrived in St Andrews, golfing capital of the world. Whilst that might seem quite an extravagant claim, golf has actually been played here since the 15th century. There are no less than seven public golf courses, with the most famous being the Old Course. Right in the heart of the town, it overlooks the North Sea. The oldest golf course in the world is one place any golfer needs to play! The town is also famous for its university where Prince William met Catherine Middleton.

St Andrews Old CourseThe British Golf Museum is a few minutes from here and has an interesting art installation by Lawrence Holofcener, Faces of Golf features 116 of the sport’s golfing greats.  Eagle-eyed readers will spot the faces of Rory McIlroy, Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, Jack Niclaus and…Mary Queen of Scots who was a keen golfer. There are over 17,000 items of golfing memorabilia inside the museum, which showcases 500 years of golfing history.

St Andrews British Golf Museum plaqueOur lunch destination, the Seafood Ristorante on Bruce Embankment has magnificent sea views over West Sands Beach to the sea.

Seafood Ristorante, St Andrews, Scotland
The restaurant is bright and airy with an open kitchen and pizza oven. They specialize in seasonal Scottish cooking with an Italian twist.

Seafood Ristorante menuThe staff were very friendly and talked us through the menu of seafood specialties. You can see some of the dishes here, as well as our trip to Kingsbarns distillery and all of our adventures in Edinburgh.

We tried a fantastic starter of hand dived Ardnamurchan scallops, baked in the shell, Asian style.

Seafood Ristorante scallops
Our starter of Scottish mackerel with flame grilled young leeks, buttermilk and kohlrabi was from the weekday lunch menu, great value at £17.50 for two courses.

Seafood Ristorante St Andrews, Scotland
Each course was equally impressive, with a superb red mullet, pepperonata and aubergine main course.

Seafood Ristorante, St Andrews, Fife
Other highlights included fritto misto, East Neuk crab spaghettini pasta with crab, chili and parsley, and a dessert of zabaglione with a homemade Madeleine.

Seafood Ristorante dishesWe passed St Andrews Castle on our way to our next destination. I’d have loved to have time to stop and explore as the ruins are so picturesque. Parts of this former bishop’s palace date from the 13th century and there’s a unique underground mine.

St Andrews Castle, FifeFrom here, we headed through lovely countryside to one of the area’s top attractions, Kingsbarns Distillery. After all, it would be rude to come to Scotland and not to taste any whisky, wouldn’t it! Kingsbarns are known for their award-winning whiskies under the Wemyss label. Their connection with the whisky industry goes back to the 19th century. They’ve recently added gin to their roster, with a fantastic range of flavoured and regular Darnley’s gins.

Kingsbarns, Fife, Scotland
The building was constructed in around 1800 as part of East Newhall Farm by the ninth Earl of Kellie, Thomas Erskine,

Kingsbarns, Fife, ScotlandIt’s been beautifully restored to include a cafe, exhibition and shop with a vast array of Wemyss malt whiskies, Darnley’s View gins and Rimauresq fine wines from the Wemyss family’s Provence vineyard.

Kingsbarns shopOur experience started with a private guided tour of their museum dedicated to the local area, whisky and gin making. One of the most impressive features of the building is the “doocot” or dovecot. Back in the day, these 600 terracotta doo boxes housed a flock of pigeons. The ones below are not real but they had us fooled for a few minutes!

Kingsbarns distillery, Scotland
You’ll learn a lot about the history of whisky and get to tour the distillery itself. Barley grown in Fife is combined with pure mineral-rich water in an aquifer, then milled, mashed, fermented and distilled. Only 33 casks a week are made, with maturation in oak casks for a minimum of 3 years.

Kingsbarns, Fife, Scotland
There are three different tours including a tasting session and a tour of the new Darnley’s Distillery will be available from Summer 2017. We were lucky to be given a sneak preview by Scott, the Visitor Centre Manager. The new distillery and tasting area will soon open in a former farmer’s cottage. There are already 2 beautifully furnished taster ròoms in the main building and in addition to the gin and whisky tasting, they’re thinking about offering an afternoon tea and gin experience which should prove popular.

Kingsbarns gin tasting
We really enjoyed tasting the different gins including their small batch gin infused with elderflower and citrus, as well as the distinctive spiced gin.

Kingsbarns tasting, ScotlandKingsbarns is only a few metres away from the beach and we’d have loved to visit but had to dash back for dinner in Edinburgh. There are many foodie producers along the coastal route, including the Ardross Farm Shop, so leave plenty of time to explore the local area. We hope you’ve enjoyed this taste of St Andrews and Fife, and that is has whetted your appetite to visit! Find out more about this stunning region on the Visit Scotland website, it’s a mine of information.

Have you ever been to St Andrews and Fife?

A Taste of St Andrews, Scotland

  • Scallops looks simply mouth-watering! I admit I don’t know much about food in Scotland, I’ve always wanted to go there because of the landscapes, but I guess some culinary delights also await those who want to discover the nature 🙂

    • Suze

      They really are blessed with wonderful produce in Scotland, from salmon to wild mushrooms and scallops plus whisky of course!

  • I’ve never been to St Andrews but it looks fab!!

    • Suze

      It’s a charming place and compact enough to visit easily, so I’m sure you’d love it

  • Sabine @ The Travelling Chilli

    I’ve never been there, but it looks like a dream destination for food and history lovers…(me 🙂 ) Your food photos look so nice, the food looks yumm. Great post!

    • Suze

      That food was so photogenic and it really did taste as good as it looked!

  • Your photography looks amazing. I’m hoping to get up to Scotland this autumn and this is making me excited for it!!

    • Suze

      I hope you get to spend at least a week there, we’ll definitely be back as there’s lots more that I want to see

  • Nerissa

    Amazing pictures. Scotland is on my list of places to visit! The food looks amazing especially the scallops! Great tips on where to go and what to see.

    • Suze

      The scallops were fantastic, I hadn’t tried them in an Asian style sauce before but it really works!

  • I love your photos! The food here looks so unique and delicious. The view from that restaurant seems awesome too. I need to visit Scotland because my family is there! Saving this for later!

    • Suze

      I’m very glad you found it helpful, Meghan and hope you get to visit soon and retrace your family’s steps!

  • St Andrew’s is where my God Daughter is at uni and I’ve been promising her I’ll visit for a while now! Definitely off there now – the food looks fabulous

    • Suze

      Ooh you will love it, I wish we’d had time to visit the university but we saw a few of the buildings as they’re dotted around the town

  • Kathi Kamleitner

    I loved St Andrews! I went there last summer with my mum and my partner. My favourite place was thw Cathedral ruins, and Janetta’s ice cream parlour 🙂 The food you’ve had looks gorgeous!!

    • Suze

      Ooh thanks for the tip about Janetta’s ice cream parlour, I’ll have to check that out if we go back. We really wanted to explore the castle ruins but our hire car was delivered so late that we didn’t have time!

      • Kathi Kamleitner

        Oh no, that’s such a shame! I hope you get to go back and then see the Cathedral ruins too – there’s a tower you can walk up for an amazing view! Janetta’s is so good – and also the fudge donuts at Fisher & Donaldson! So much great food in St Andrews 🙂

        • Suze

          Right, definitely got to return!

  • St Andrews has been on my ‘must visit’ for too long Suze!

    • Suze

      It’s very easy to reach from Edinburgh, Emma and I reckon you would love it

  • The scallops in the shell look amazing, so creative of them! Looks like you had a lovely time!

    Ash | http://www.liakadatravel.com

    • Suze

      That was such gorgeous presentation, really impressive!

  • We didn’t manage to get to St Andrews, but I would love to go back one day. It looks incredible.

    • Suze

      There’s so much to see in Scotland isn’t there! Hope you get to return

  • I’ve never been to St Andrews, but I HAVE been to the tiny South Australian opal mining town of Coober Pedy where most of the inhabitants live underground. But Coober Pedy also has a golf course – and it’s got reciprocal members rights with St Andrews!!!

  • Sonja Thomson

    Wow your photos are beautiful! I’ve been meaning to visit St Andrews again soon and this has made me bump it up the list!

  • Everything here screams beautiful and delicious! St. Andrew’s is paradise. Lucky you to have gone there.

  • Fernanda

    I’ve been to Edinburgh a few years ago and absolutely loved it! Unfortunately I didn’t know about St Andrews, otherwise would definitely have made the effort to go there too. It looks amazing – specially the restaurant with the scallops baked in the shell! 🙂

  • I’ll definitely bookmark this post for my future travels to Scotland. Your photos are amazing, Suze. The views look truly breathtaking. Plus, all that delicious food… I might stay there forever!

  • Carol

    Wow, St. Andrews looks unbelievably gastronomic, luxurious and historic. I would really love to go!

  • Chrysoula Manika

    You broght me back so many wonderful memories. When I lived in Edinburgh I used to go to St Andrews for a day trip. Such a picturesque town and the food is amazing. I missed the Darnley’s Distillery though so that is another reason to come back.

  • Hmmm delicious…. Makes me want to visit Scotland! And your photos are so pretty! Which camera are you using?
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Elisa Subirats

    I read once that golf was invented there in St Andrews so it must be a must of golf lovers. If in addition there are delicious treats like the ones you show and a couple of interesting sights you sold me St Andrews!

  • megan_claire

    Not going to lie, the only reason St Andrews was on my radar was because of the university and the fairytale which went down there 😀 But it’s obviously so much more, I would love to travel and play a round of golf on the Old course!

  • Lucy

    St Andrews looks beautiful, what a wonderful setting for a restaurant the scallops and red mullet look especially yummy Lucy x (FoodieForce)